Sunday, March 05, 2017

THE YEAR IN REVIEW of 2016 art highlights

Bonny Leibowitz - Monument Pile, 2016 at Liliana Bloch Gallery
vinyl, vintage and contemporary textiles, photography of textiles, 
pigment on mulberry paper, acrylic and stitching. 78"x65" repost

I know it is early, but I think this would be a good time to review the year in visual art. Many people might think this year wasn’t all that great overall, but locally our art scenes of the Metroplex had some exciting shows. This encompases both commercial and museum art spaces.

Jackson Pollock’s teacher Thomas Hart Benton had a focus show at the Amon Carter. An impressive show of theatrical paintings. I wasn’t a fan before I saw the show, but I had to admire him when I left. He was in the business of creating a mythical United States with all the ugliness that goes along with the glory. Jackson Pollock’s show at the Dallas Museum of Art was a real eye opener. This exhibition covered a few years of his lesser known black paintings. Pollock was also a myth maker, but his came from making work about paint and what a painter could do. Both men may have had totally different styles and approaches, but their goal to make paintings that were larger than life was achieved.

Can you also believe that the Fort Worth Modern had a retrospective of Frank Stella’s work? That is right, the monumental show made me want to run right back into the studio and make a response piece or two. From the early paintings that were shaped, minimal canvases to the massive maximalist sculptures and paintings of the later work; one visit was not enough for me.

This year’s Dallas Art Fair was the best yet. All the art related activities, events, and other shows during the art fair week help Dallas move a bit closer to an event week like Art Basel Miami, if only just a little. Some artist solo shows stick in my mind, like Jim Stoker’s landscapes at Valley House Gallery. I gained a new appreciation for contemporary landscape. I have been following Bonny Leibowitz for some time and I was excited that after her show at Lillian Bloch Gallery, her current work went up to New York City for another show. Mathew Zefeldt was one of the best solo painting show this year at a commercial gallery. Similar to the way That 70’s Show taped into nostalgia without being just plain nostalgic, Zefeldt taps into the 1990’s digital images, but he reorganizes and makes new images in the style of 16 bit that makes the work seem fresh, yet from an earlier time. Circuit 12 Contemporary had a way of creating great solo shows like Zefeldt and also some amazing group shows.

Last week I mentioned Circuit 12 Contemporary’s group show titled Hot and Wet and a show titled Cult of Color in relation to Adam Palmer’s work, but I must also express that these two shows were the best this year in the category of group shows. The gallery I am associated with also had a pretty amazing painting show by a group of artists. The exhibition was titled Manmade and was helded at Holly Johnson Gallery. Manmade highlighted seven artists that range in style and speaks to what is exciting in abstract painting today.

So, as you can see, there are a lot of positive things to reflect upon in 2016. Let’s hope the arts will flourish even more next year.

1 comment:

bonny leibowitz said...

Thank you Todd, It was an amazing year; so fulfilling to see the work realized in such great spaces, Liliana Bloch and NO.4 Studio. Your review of the work and it's inclusion into the Year In Review 2016 art highlights is a great honor and really helped me see the big picture in new ways...thank you!